Provincial Grand Lodge meeting Saturday 6th April 2024

It’s always a great day at Bradford Grammar School and this meeting was no exception.  An early start for the D.C. and Secretariat teams, they having been there from about 7.30 a.m. with many of them setting things up on Friday as well.  

With everything in place, it was time for kick off.  Brethren taking their seats for 10.30. Provincial Grand Lodge opens at 11.00 a.m. but, there are entry processions which start at 10.45a.m. and so punctuality is the order of the day.  

The Price Hall is a super setting and one I think is very difficult to match anywhere.  It really does add to the pomp and splendour of the meeting.  There was an exited buzz around the place with Brethren chatting eagerly about the meeting to come.  Brethren with various speaking parts walking about muttering to themselves.  Ritual can be stressful.  We are all perfect whilst in the shower or driving up the M1, but go live and things can change!  However, things did not change, and a fantastic meeting was opened and closed in style.  The middle bit wasn’t bad either!

There were a good number of Provincial Grand Masters and other honoured guests processed into the Lodge and given a warm welcome.  Then it was the turn of the Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro. J. Trevor Bolton to enter with his current team of acting officers, impressive indeed.  The salutations were many and the Brethren now exhausted by the amount of clapping took their seats.   Then entered a delegation of Royal Ark Mariners to the rousing tune of ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’, quite a spectacle.  Trevor welcomed them.  W.Bro. Philip Drury, Commander of the Carl Whitehead Lodge of R.A.M. No.110, responded suitably.  There was plenty of administrative business to be taken care of, which was accordingly done.  Thisincluded Trevor presenting a very generous donation to the Cleeves and Whitehead Trust, which he said was the jewel in the crown of our Province.  The money, from thesale of merchandise, was £8862.10 for the year to date.  V.W.Bro. Philip Oldfield received this with great pleasure, giving his grateful thanks on behalf of the Trust. 

Then on to the main event to appoint and invest Provincial Grand Lodge Officers.  This was a fabulous part of the meeting and, it was great to see all those proud smiling faces as they were appointed and invested.  After which W.Bro. William R. Light the Prov.G.S.W. thanked everyone for their very kind salutations on behalf of himself, W.Bro. Kevin Lloyd Prov. G.J.W.  and all the newly appointed officers.

In is address Trevor said, as the new P.G.M. he was getting to grips with things and had a great team behind him.  With the support of the executive, they were planning to move things forward and introduce several new initiatives with regards Installations, Advancements and Escorted visits and presentation of Grand Lodge certificates.  All this information will be on the website for you to read in full and is, perhaps, a little long for this article.  Then a surprise; Trevor asked for Gerry Barker to be escorted into the lodge.  Gerry is the Lord Mayor of Bradford and looked resplendent in his tri-corned hat and bright red robes.  The P.G.M. then presented a cheque for £500 towards the Lord Mayor Appeal Fund; ‘Cinderellas’.  The Lord Mayor thanked the Province for its generosity and said what a wonderful donation it was.    

Before closing Provincial Grand Lodge, Trevor presented a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Masters collar and jewel to V.W.Bro. John Edward Vause and thanked him for his time in office and everything he does for our order. The Lodge being closed the Brethren were then transported swiftly by bus and coach to the nearby Midland Hotel.  A very slick and well organised job indeed.  Many thanks to W.Bro. Michael Jessop and his team of drivers.   

The dining room at the Midland hotel looked impressive and the spectacular chandelier adding to the dining room’s ambience, creating light and lustre.  The food was first class and the Brethren were certainly well looked after by the waiting staff.

Toasts were given to the King, the Grand Master and, finally, to the Provincial Grand Master.  This was done in fine style by W.Bro. William R. Light, Prov G.S.W.  or Billy to those who know him. Billy spoke of what it must take to be a P.G.M. and in the words of the late Roy Castle said ‘I am sure its dedication, dedication, dedication. Billy said this had already been seen in his previous role as Assistant Provincial GrandMaster, visiting both Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Lodges and attending many social events with his wife Pamela, who he was sure gave Trevor her unwavering support. He went on to talk about Trevor’s work during the pandemic and his role in bringing the almoners network together, supporting both Brethren and their families.  He said this experience had eased Trevor into his new role as P.G.M. and with great confidence he would bring new ideas and roles for, not only the executive team, but also the newly invested officers.  New initiatives with regards Advancements andInstallations would ensure support for all Lodges.  In closing he wished the P.G.M. a wonderful and enjoyable first year in office, knowing that he had the full support of all his officers.

In his response Trevor thanked Billy for his kind words, saying he was very proud to be our P.G.M.  He also said he was very fortunate to inherit such a happy and successful Province, which was due to the quality of its members and the examples set by his predecessors.  He congratulated all those receiving honours and went on to thank everyone for all the help and support in making it such a wonderful and successful meeting.  This included the, Secretariat, D.C. team, the West Yorkshire Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge, the Social Committee, all the staff at Bradford Grammar School and the Midland Hotel.  Not least; the members of this wonderful Province. In closing Trevor thanked W.Bro. Billy Light Prov.G.S.W. for the terms of his toast and the Brethren for the way they had received his response.  

With that the Brethren said their goodbyes and made their way home.  Full, happy and contented.  It really was a fabulous day and one not to be missed.  Next year’s meeting will be held on Saturday 26th April 2025, once again at Bradford Grammar School.  Please put the date in your diary.  Hogwarts awaits!    

Andrew Johnson

Communications Manager